Oct 2011: Collie to Mandurah

26" hard tail with panniers

My wife drove John and I to Collie, leaving home by 8.15am and getting to the Collie bakery at 10.30am for "sustenance". We drove to Mornington Rd as the first 5km were in Collie itself or semi rural roads on the edge of town. We started at 11.30am and the weather was warm and fine - 27 degrees. The first 10km of our ride was gravel tracks with some pea gravel. The rest of the ride to Yarri was good trails, with lots of shade and in some parts narrow, over grown tunnels of greenery - beautiful. Sun or safety glasses are a good idea as we were whipped in the face by branches a lot. We were at the hut by 3pm. It is a half sized hut on a very narrow rail trail, perched over looking a small stream that is completely hidden by trees and dense bush. Later in the day another rider turned up who had ridden 60km from Willowdale Arboretum. He'd dropped his car at Collie and paid $216 to get to his start point at Willowdale by taxi! He was very tired so in bed by 7.30pm, whereas we partied on till 8.30pm!

We were up before 6am, and had the usual weetbix and fruit, and away by 7am. The first section was like the last part yesterday - gentle slopes, good paths, tunnels of green, and at times quite overgrown, which made for really nice riding. However the 10~20 km into Logue Brook Dam, and nearly all to Bidjar hut was the usual Darling Range Munda Biddi riding - a mix of surfaces but lots of gravel & sand, and steeper hills, and lots of open jarrah forest. We did stop at the caravan park, but the cafe/shop is not functioning, so they only had ice cream & soft drinks. We cut out the red section by Logue Brook Dam by following the road on the map around and rejoining the MB after the car park.

Nearer to Bidjar, I went down the Form that I was sure took us to the hut, but it was the wrong way. There is a diversion in place around some bauxite mining (isn't this Lane Poole RESERVE?!?) that I think has changed the original route of the Munda Biddi. We rode about about an extra 4km. We were expecting more riding on Forms, so the diversion seemed extra bad to us- riding next to a road on a slow rough track. (Should have gone to the website for deviations before riding!). It started to rain when we finally hit King Jarrah Form, although it had been overcast all day and had sprinkled abit at Logue Brook Dam. We were at the hut by 5pm with no other visitors. We went to the little stream by the hut (follow the path in front of picnic tables down) and up to the little water fall. This is a lovely little spot. No partying for us tonight - we were tired from 10 hrs on the trail, so bed by 7.30pm. It rained a lot overnight.

Up at 5.30am at Bidjar and had breakfast by the waterfall, watching the little native fish. We were on the road by 7am. The forms were very slippery with the overnight rain, and I had my front wheel slip out from under me at about 20km/hr. I ended up abit muddy, but not a single scratch as the mud let me slide.

We got lost between Nanga and Baden Powel as there was a junction without a sign and we ended up on the wrong route. We rode for 3 kms before coming back onto the MB a km before we took the wrong route. We tried the other option and saw more signs within 500 m. Saw some massive tree ferns on the ride - as tall as small trees and something you'd expect in temperate rain forests, not here. Once we got to the Rangers station just beyond Baden Powel we stayed on Nanga Rd to Dwellingup - it is about a 70km/hr narrow, steep windy road, but we preferred in to go uphill on sealed road rather than the trail (see 2014 ride - Munda Biddi trail is pretty good - stay with it). We were in Dwellingup by 10.30am for food & drink, then on the road to Mandurah. It was sunny now. The down hill section was ok as it was sign posted 80km/hr and we were moving fast, but on the flat to Pinjarra it was 110km/hr zone and we were doing 30km/hr tops, so cars whizzed by. We had a pie and a break at the Pinjarra bakery before doing the last 25km to Mandurah on cycleways & road. We jumped straight on a train, and we were in Perth an hour later. I rode the cycleway to Bayswater. I was very sore, muddy, tired and sun burnt, but satisfied. The trail highlight was the trail South & North of Yarri and Bidjar

June 2011: Mandurah to Brookton H'way

4 of us met at Perth Underground train station at 6.45am on a Saturday (bikes are not allowed in central Perth stations before 9.30am on week days). I had ridden in from Bayswater along the cycleway next to the Midland line. We all jumped on a train and were at the Mandurah train station just before 8am. We rode along the cycleway by the Mandurah bypass road to get to Mandurah Pinjarra Rd. The first 10 km or so of the 23 km section is on cycleway, the last few kms are on a footpath, but the middle section is on the road (dual carrigeway, signposted about 90km/hr), so not the best fun. We went to the bakery for food, then on to Dwellingup via the direct route. On the flat section you are sharing the road with cars doing 110km/hr, which is not pleasant. The uphill section is a windy bit of road with double white lines and signposted about 80 km/hr, but the cars squeeze right past you as the bends are blind - not nice at all. (see "Getting There" section for two alternative routes - much easier and less cars, although you still have to climb up the Scarp on both routes). We were at Dwellingup by 11.30am, just in time for lunch. I bought a continental roll to take away for dinner tonight. We left town at 12.10pm. We stopped at Oakley Dam for second lunch, and forgot how long the down hill section in was (note - Map 2 Trail realignment no longer follows this route). 30km from the Dandalup hut we were tired, and last 15km to the hut was really hard for us. There are some really pretty spots around Del Park Rd - it doesn't look like Perth jarrah forest, but more like Tasmanian forest. There is now no camping at Whittakers mill, although the MB maps say you can. There is a small realignment of the track coming into the hut so you go up a single track instead of that short but very, very steep track right to the hut's door. Unfortunately the track had been chopped up by a motorbike, but was still rideable, whereas the former route was never rideable - I didn't even like riding down it. Got in about 6pm in darkness - a very long day. Cool but not cold night. Great hut with views over the plains & great mobile phone service.

Ww were up about 6.30am after the night got quite cold. My thermals in a down sleeping bag fixed that! We left around 8am after weetbix & fruit. Two of the guys went on ahead, but got lost, so we lost 1/2 hour in the first 2 km regrouping. Then we stopped at the real toilets on the dam wall - you ride right past them, so it was a really slow start to the day. The main Picnic area is down a big hill, so we were happy to just look down on it. We took the touring route near Rowley Rd, but otherwise followed the Munda Biddi all the way to Jarrahdale. The ride out of the Serpentine River valley is, as always, a killer! Recent rains had compacted the track nicely, but occasionally there was some washed out sections. We had Jarrah burgers all round at the Jarrahdale cafe and we had a decent break as it is only 25km to go to the hut, and it is all pretty good riding.

We left Jarrahdale at 2pm. Smooth gravel roads or rail trails saw good speeds in to Balmoral POW camp. The weather is fine and sunny but cool - perfect riding weather. We had a break at Balmoral then on to Wungong Hut via good gravel roads - no cars were seen at all. We were into hut at 4.45pm. A family on a short ride from Albany highway were there already, and they stayed the night.

It was very cold overnight - there was ice on toilet hand rail in the morning! We guessed it was about 0 degrees and we found out later Jarrahdale was -1degree overnight! We slept in because it was so cold, so we were not away till about 8.30am. We had 29km to Brookton Highway, which was all pretty good except for two big hills, one in particular being long, rough and would be a struggle to even ride down! We sat on a granite boulder in the sun for lunch. We were at Brookton Highway by 11.30am, and two of us rode the Highway home, while the other two rode to Pickering Brook and rode down Welshpool Rd to Vic Park. It was about 5km to Karragullen (110km/hr zone, gravel shoulder but light traffic), then downhill past Roleystone (70-80 km/hr, zone sealed shoulder) to Kelmscott, at speeds up to 60km/hr. We had a pie & a drink on the way, then jumped on a train to Claisebrook before I rode the last section back to Bayswater. I was home by 2pm, so plenty of time to unpack, sort my gear and get ready for work tomorrow.

This page is the property of Follow My Ride, a website detailing off road cycle tracks near Perth and in Western Australia.